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Road to the scudetto 2002 > Prelude




Match reports and goal videos from (almost) all the matches are available on our site for your enjoyment.

This match-by-match scudetto guide was originally published by the Gazzetta dello Sport. Thank you so much Nina for the translation!
 
...follow the road...
1. prelude
2. opening (rounds 1-9)
3. opening (rounds 10-17)
4. closing (rounds 18-26)
5. closing (rounds 27-34)
6. wrap-up


Transfer campaign
Lippi returns
The first major transfer after a disappointing 2000/01 campaign came almost directly after the full time whistle of the final match. Carlo Ancelotti was shown the door in favor of Marcello Lippi, the Juve success coach. Among his previous achievements at the club, I might mention 3 league titles, the Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup. Not to mention that for a period of 3-4 years under his reign, Juventus was a real European superpower (unlike presently), reaching the final of the Champions League 3 times. On his first day on the job, Marcello proclaimed: "I know that I have to win back the faith of the fans and I'll do it with the results."

So the first step had been taken. In came Lippi with the promise of attacking football. Yet the biggest move of the summer concerned one of the most attacking minded players in the squad, the eminent Zizou made his Real switch for no less than £48m. SuperPippo followed him out of the door, but headed for Milan after learning that the new French bomber (top scorer to-be) had stolen his place in the lineup. Both players had proclaimed their wish and intention to stay at the club for the rest of their careers only few months before their respective transfers.

Czech maestro Nedved
With the major sales, the management was pursuaded and splashed out bigtime on new players to strengthen the already respectable squad. Dutch champion Van Der Sar was shipped off to Fulham only to see the most expensive (and perhaps best) goalkeeper in the world join the Bianconeri. The unimpressive Bachini moved to Parma in the Buffon deal, rated at £33m. The club also brought in a few other big names in Thuram, Nedved and Salas. Yes, the spending was massive this time, around £100m cleaned out to recruit new players.


Ambitions
For a club of Juve's stature, winning is not an ambition, it's a requirement. Ancelotti's team had just missed out on the league title twice in a row, the management was becoming restless, Zidane was re-evaluating his options. To make matters worse, the club's performance in Europe under Ancelotti had been quite catastrophical considering Juve's quite recent success. Something had to be done to get back on winning ways. After spending modestly in the pre-season in past years, Juve's transfer campaign was formidable this time.

A massive £33m is what it took to convince the Parma bosses to give up Buffon
What was lost had to be found. Lippi had enjoyed a lot of success in the past. His team was known to play an attacking game, desperately missed by many under Ancelotti. Lippi was also known to install the right mental attitude in the minds of his players. He was a winning coach, he had won before and he could win again. Ancelotti, on the other hand, had lost twice in a row.

What's more, Lippi also brought the promise of a reborn Alessandro Del Piero. The two had enjoyed a good relationship during Lippi's previous stay at Juve. But since 1998, Del Piero had been plagued by a nasty injury, some predicted he would never fully recover from it. There was even talk of Alex leaving the Bianconeri. The fantasista's form was on an incline by the end of the season and Lippi's arrival brought much hope for a rebirth of one of the finest football minds in Italy the past decade. Lippi and Juve enjoyed much success and won many trophies with Del Piero on form. Neither had won anything without that vital ingredient.

But despite the heavy spending, the new coach and the newly found hope for success, winning was still an absolute requirement. And Lippi could not be certain of a second season should it happen he misses out on all the trophies like his predecessor did.